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Health & Spirit

Should we have gone to our friend's ex-husband's wedding?

Carolyn Hax on

Dear Carolyn:

My husband and I have had a long and wonderful relationship with another couple that had marital problems, which eventually lead to a divorce. They were both unfaithful over the years and the man's relationship became his new wife. The woman found several men, then met and married a wonderful man of her dreams.

My husband and I attended both weddings. Now the woman is angry and not speaking to me because we attended her ex's wedding. She says he has a "win" because now he will say we are better friends with him than with her.

We flew across the country to attend her beautiful wedding, but barely crossed the street for his -- it was in our home town. His children invited us to his wedding and really, we are planning to continue to be friendly with him, even though I am closer to her.

Did I do wrong by attending his wedding? I have tried to talk with her and she keeps claiming hurt feelings. Now I am just angry and thinking I am being used as a weapon against her ex-husband.

-- Feeling Used

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It's possible you're being used, but I don't think you're a weapon against the ex. At least, that's not at the root.

A grown woman angry to the point of ending a friendship because her ex got "a 'win'" is not playing with a full emotional deck. When you're faced with anger that doesn't make sense -- when the stated reasons for it just don't add up -- it helps to think of the anger as useful in some way to the person feeling it. Presumably she wouldn't manufacture and maintain such a grudge otherwise.

So maybe this anger ... helps your friend feel vindicated in the divorce? Keeps her connected to her ex where she's not ready to let go? Keeps alive her hope of getting the apology or restitution or revenge she thinks she deserves? Satisfies a need to blame?

Or does it serve as a simple alternative to a more complicated anger she hasn't reckoned with yet? Getting angry at you, after all -- and through you getting angry all over again at her ex, nice bonus -- is a lot easier than getting angry at herself.

...continued

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